Visiting the Lavender Fields at the Senanque Abbey in Gordes, France

Visiting the Lavender Fields at the Senanque Abbey in Gordes, France

I’d seen pictures of the Senanque Abbey for months and knew this was a top spot for photos. There are many fields throughout the South of France, but nowhere else will you find a working monastery to add to the aesthetic of your photographs.

It wasn’t until I went through great pains to get there that I realized photographing yourself in the lavender is actually technically not allowed.I’ve always been of the mindset that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, so I risked the reprimand and ventured out to join other photographers in the fields. I promise that no lavender was harmed in the making of this blog post.

Those wanting to photograph lavender without breaking any rules will be happy to know that you are free to explore and wander in most public fields at any point in time, and you’ll find no shortage of them on a road trip through the South of France.

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The Senanque Abbey is a special place, however, with church bells sounding in the background and the smell of lavender of wafting along with a soft breeze.

Here’s everything you need to know before visiting this idyllic location!

How to get to Senanque Abbey

You can easily access the Abbey on a half day trip from Arles or Avignon. If you’re coming from a little further, like Paris, simply take a train into the region and rent a car or take a tour from there.

While a lot of coach buses visit this place, I recommend that that you rent a car if at all possible so that you can explore other neighboring lavender fields without being restricted to a tour schedule.

Taking photos at Senanque Abbey

I’ve had a friend fly a drone over this location, and there were dozens of people taking photos in the fields. It gets crowded after about 10am so come early. There are also olive trees and bee hives near the fields. Definitely beware the bees!

If you’re going to stand between the plants, step gingerly and avoid stepping on the lavender itself. Be respectful of the environment and sanctity of the space.  The Abbey itself is an active house of worship.

Best month to visit

In France, lavender fields bloom from Mid-June through July. I went in the last week of June/first week of July, and the lavender was about halfway grown. I would like to return a little later in the season to see it in full bloom. There are also sunflower fields readily seen in the same season.

Lavender souvenirs

While no souvenirs are sold by the Abbey, and taking any lavender from here is strictly prohibited, you can find lavender souvenirs throughout the south of France. I was able to bring back a bouquet, which smells heavenly. There’s a wide array of soap, potpourri and body creams.

Not far from the Abbey is the L’Occitane factory, world famous for its bath and body products. You even have the option of making a customized fragrance in the region.

Know before you go

Your cell phone will not work at the Abbey, no matter what provider you have, so make sure you communicate with anyone you have to before you start making the descent. It’s a thin road essentially on the edge of a cliff that goes both ways, so sometimes you have to squeeze to let another car through.

I recommend going for lunch and indulging in a gelato afterwards before heading on to your next town for the day. There is parking on site, but again it gets crowded so get there early. There is no fee to enter.

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I hope this helps you plan your trip, and that you get to make your lavender dreams a reality soon.

Feel free to comment below with any questions and, until next time, safe travels!

The Senanque Abbey is Gordes, France is a working monastery and home to some of the most beautiful lavender fields in the region. Find out everything you need to know about visiting the Senanque Abbey and seeing fields of lavender in the South of France!

The Senanque Abbey is Gordes, France is a working monastery and home to some of the most beautiful lavender fields in the region. Find out everything you need to know about visiting the Senanque Abbey and seeing fields of lavender in the South of France!

The Senanque Abbey is Gordes, France is a working monastery and home to some of the most beautiful lavender fields in the region. Find out everything you need to know about visiting the Senanque Abbey and seeing fields of lavender in the South of France!

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11 Comments

  1. September 21, 2017 / 4:36 pm

    Abbeys in France are amazing. When we lived in the French area behind Geneva we used to drive 3 hours to little monastery called Eyguebelle to get their syrups! The lavendar fields is definitely a bonus! I will keep this on my radar for my next trip.

  2. September 22, 2017 / 11:14 am

    This looks like an idyllic spot, indeed. I love that there is no cell reception and that they don’t sell souvenirs. So unusual these days. I know I’d probably break the rules for a few pictures, too, but wish one didn’t have to break the rules to experience wandering in a lavender field. (Stupid guilt complex!)

  3. September 23, 2017 / 5:13 am

    I love the pictures of you in the fields. Hopefully, the reprimand wasn’t to brutal:) Your pictures got me all excited to see lavender and then I realized it was only a spring event. There are lavender fields in California we really should visit, unless we move to Florida of course.

  4. Ivy
    September 25, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    I’ve only been to one lavendar field and it looks nothing like this- this is so much prettier and grander! I’m still a little skeptical of them though because of ticks… coworker’s husband passed a few months ago from lyme 🙁 Good call on heading there early to avoid the crowds!

  5. September 26, 2017 / 4:32 am

    Wow this lavender field looks gorgeous! I’ve never been to one and it is my dream to check it off my bucket list. Next time I’m in France, I need to time my trip well with the season!

  6. September 27, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    You look so pretty frolicking in the flowy dress! I would do the same thing. I like the “Know before you go” tips.

  7. September 27, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    The lavender field is so beautiful! I haven’t been to any yet and would love to visit one of this soon!

  8. September 27, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    I’ve never been to a lavender field, yet hope to make it to one someday. I agree ask for forgiveness over permission!

  9. September 28, 2017 / 12:33 am

    wow I love lavender! Would love to visit a place like this (minus the bees). I love the quote “Rather ask for forgiveness than permission! I have not been to this part of France… def high on my must visit list.

  10. September 28, 2017 / 1:05 am

    One of my bucket list items is to buy a rail pass or rent a car and just trek through France. It’s almost impossible to limit my list of spots I’d like to hit…AND now I clearly have to add Gordes. Lovely photos, the lavender fields look incredible.

  11. September 28, 2017 / 1:15 am

    The lavender fields of France are so beautiful, and your pictures capture them so well! I’ve always wanted to frolic in a field, but am always a little hesitant because of the bees that might be flying around, haha. Nevertheless, this seems like a great alternative spot to enjoy the scenery, even if you have to break the rules to see them. I guess you can repent later in the abbey 😛 Thanks for sharing.

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